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Assignment: Course Reflection

Name: Kate Morden
Instructor: Heather Sago
Course: Group Design and Delivery COUN 79
Date: November 1st, 2015/December 13th, 2015


Emerging Themes
Upon reading my weekly reflections from weeks one to seven (see Appendix A:
Weekly Reflections), one of the most prominent themes is fear and anxiety. To name a
few, this fear stems from the fear of experiencing anxiety, paralysis, failure, vulnerability,
judgment and rejection. Because fear and anxiety is an apparent theme, I have drawn a
picture of a turtle and written a poem along with it to demonstrate my group experience
thus far (see Appendix B: Drawing/Poem). I chose to draw a turtle because I felt that this
animal best resembled the way I think, feel and act as a leader and/or participant in the
forming, storming and norming stages of group development. As a turtle hides in its
shell when it is afraid and comes out of its shell when it is feeling safe, I, too, do the
same. For example, typically in group settings or when meeting and getting to know
others, I feel anxious, fearful and uncomfortable; therefore, metaphorically speaking, I
hide in my shell to protect myself. As time passes, anxiety decreases, and I begin to feel
more comfortable, I slowly start to come out of this shell.
Another theme that is apparent is my passion for self-growth and development,
which is fuelled by my determination, strength and courage. I love to learn and grow by
challenging myself, and I am eager in striving to reach my highest potential. These
aspects of myself are evident through weeks one to seven because I continuously make
efforts to challenge myself, take risks and face my fears, despite the anxiety I may feel as
a result of doing so.
Lastly, another theme that I have recognized is my ability to see and appreciate, as
well as focus on, the positives/strengths in others, whether they are a leader or participant.
More often than not, I am able to see the good in people and/or situations; when/if there


are times that I do not, I then challenge myself to do so.

Characteristics of a CYC Approach
CYC practice is known for its unique approach to working with children, youth
and families (Garfat & Fulcher, 2011). As such, there is a list of characteristics that are
separated into three categories Being, Interpreting and Doing which demonstrate
this unique approach (Freeman & Garfat, 2014).
Characteristics of strengths of mine that were shown throughout the first seven
weeks are love, strengths and resiliency and reflection. Love is shown in my overall
demeanour, as I am a loving, compassionate person who genuinely cares about the health
and wellbeing of others. I demonstrate this love through honesty, respect, honour and
dignity. In addition, as mentioned above, I have the ability to focus on the
positives/strengths in others. When working with others, my approach is strength-based
and I am able to find moments of resiliency in others. The ability to reflect is also one of
my strengths, as I am extremely self-aware and reflective before, during, and after
personal experiences and professional practice.
A characteristic of an area of development, however, would be counselling on the
go. I find this characteristic or skill to be challenging, as I am someone who is
thoughtful, introspective, and prefers to carefully think things through before taking
action, such as deciding what to say and/or do first, instead of acting on the go. Also,
due to my anxiety, often times when I am put on the spot or something unexpected
happens, I automatically freeze and experience paralysis. Another characteristic of an
area of development would be working in the now, as this is something I struggle to do
at times; for example, during weeks one to seven, although I tried my very best to remain


engaged and present in the moment, sometimes my thoughts and feelings specifically
my anxiety challenged me to stay in the here and now. This is because it was
difficult to concentrate due to the ongoing chatter in my mind, the bodily sensations I
would feel as a result of my anxiety, and needing to attempt to stay in control of it.
Effective Facilitation
There are many characteristics of an effective facilitator, as shown in the book,
Groups: Process and Practice (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2014). Personal characteristics
that I have that may lead to effective facilitation are courage, genuineness and caring,
empathy, commitment to self-care, self-awareness, and personal dedication and
commitment (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2014).
Courage as a personal characteristic will assist me in embracing vulnerability,
dealing with conflicts, facing my fears, and taking risks (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2014).
Genuineness and caring, as well as empathy, can build healthy relationships that promote
feelings of safety, trust, respect, and understanding (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2014).
Furthermore, self-care is extremely important in helping professions in order to
maintain our stamina, prevent burnout and secondary trauma stress, and provide the
best care to children, youth and families (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2014). There was a time
when I experienced symptoms of burnout during my second placement. I was stressed,
overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, helpless and hopeless. I was not well and my state of
mind (at the time) negatively impacted my performance in school, placement, work, and
at home. It was then when I realized how important self-care truly is. Specifically, within
the last one to two years, I have made a commitment to practicing self-care. I do so
through communicating with others, writing, reading, exercising, nutrition, sleep, yoga,


prayer, meditation, embracing nature, having a support system, etc. I am proud to say that
self-care is now a strength of mine.
Self-awareness is also a strength that I have. I am well aware of: who I am as a
person, worker, leader and participant; what I admire, respect and value in myself and
others; what I need; my morals, beliefs and values; my fears and triggers; my strengths
and weaknesses; my thoughts and feelings; and so on. This awareness will help me in my
present and future practice, including the children, youth and families I work with.
Personal dedication and commitment is another personality characteristic of mine
that is can lead to effective facilitation. This quality is similar to the theme I mentioned
earlier my passion for self-growth and development. I am always striving to become a
better person and a better worker. I do so by taking advantage of the personal and
professional growth and development opportunities that come my way. Doing this will
ensure that I am an effective and successful CYC practitioner.
Counselling Skills Used
- Active listening
- Reflecting
- Empathizing
- Interpreting
- Questioning
- Supporting
Moments of not Knowing
Anderson-Nathe (2010) discussed the matter of not-knowing. Reflecting upon
the last seven weeks, there were many moments in which I experienced moments of not-


knowing. Firstly, this specific course was rather unstructured, providing much flexibility
for the leader and participants. As a result, other participants and I practiced a lot of
hanging out and hanging in two Being characteristics of the CYC approach.
Towards the beginning, this unstructured course caused me to feel anxiety due to the
uncertainty of what was to come and the fear of the unknown.
An emerging theme throughout this group experience, as stated earlier, was fear
and anxiety. Perhaps many of the fears and anxieties I experience were and are a result of
not-knowing for example, not knowing what the outcome will be, how to deal with a
specific situation or conflict that arises, what to say and/or do, how the leader or
participants will react and/or respond to me, what others truly think about me, etc.
Another moment of not-knowing that I am currently experiencing is regarding
our Co-facilitation Group Session Delivery, as I do not know whom I am going to present
with, what group activity we are going to deliver, and when we will be presenting. All I
know is that a group member and I will be notified three days prior to presenting. This
creates anxiety within me and it is a prime example of not-knowing, including how I
respond to moments of not-knowing.
Plan for Self-growth and Development
- Practice
- Use of supervision
- Embrace vulnerability
- Continue to challenge myself by taking risks
- Gain theoretical and practical knowledge/experience



Anderson-Nathe, B. (2010). Youth workers, stuckness, and the myth of supercompetence:

Not knowing what to do. New York, NY: Routledge.
Corey, M.S., Corey, G., & Corey C. (2014). Groups: Process and practice. United States
of America: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
Freeman, J. & Garfat, T. (2014). Being, interpreting, doing: A framework for organizing
the characteristics of a relational child and youth care approach. Child and Youth
Care Online, 179, 23-27. Retrieved from: http://www.aacrcdc.org/sites/default/files/freeman_garfat_2014_being_interpreting_doing.pdf
Garfat, T. & Fulcher, L. (2011). Characteristics of a child and youth care approach.
Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 24(1-2), 7-19. Retrieved from:


Appendix A: Weekly Reflections

Week 1 No class
Week 2

Trouble concentrating and being present (perhaps due to lack of sleep and/or the
anxiety I felt, as this was the first COUN79 class and I did not know anyone)
Was very observant of each group member and the environment
During introductions, we were to say our name and then share what we would like
to do upon graduation. When Heather asked if anyone wanted to go first, I wanted
to raise my hand to challenge myself to go first. I wanted to challenge myself this
way in an attempt to push myself out of my comfort zone; however, I did not end
up doing so because I had not come up with an answer yet and members in the
group were also eager to share and participate. While people around the circle
spoke, I tried my best to listen attentively, but in the back of my mind, I was
experiencing some anxiety about speaking and I was also obsessing over what I
was going to share with the group. Although this happened, I did notice an
improvement from the previous year in my ability to deal with this anxiety.
I found the group dynamics of this class to be different than previous years, as the
group appears to be much more talkative and participative. Due to this and
because I didnt want to interrupt anybody, I struggled trying to find a moment to
share my thoughts during group discussion.
While we were in small groups and Heather came by a couple of times to observe,
I found that my anxiety would increase and/or I would freeze. Perhaps this is due
to my fear of authority.
As Heather asked questions, I found it difficult to come up with answers on the
spot and share them with the group. I wanted time to think about it first.
Regardless, I was able to contribute to the group discussion a couple of times.
There were a few things I thought of and wanted to say, but I didnt because
others were talking, I wasnt feeling confident, and I feared judgment from group
members (i.e. that what I had to contribute was not worthy or good enough).
When we discussed our answers as a class and my thought was mentioned, I then
wished I had said what I wanted to say.

Week 3

Instructed to bring a photo of a person/people who are part of your support

network and provide you with energy (I brought a photo of Rachel)
Felt anxious anticipating to speak in group today
Heather discussed the course outline with the class as a whole and then instructed
us to get into small groups to create further discussion about this matter, including
what we would like to learn or see happen during this 15-week course. I was able
to contribute to the group discussion.
Played an icebreaker game (Two Truths, One Lie). Although seemingly simple, I
struggled coming up with a lie, so when it was my turn I said two truths and then


froze. Therefore, I had to go again. I felt a moment of embarrassment, but I was

able to let go of this and laugh with the group about it.
When it was time to share our photos, I was feeling very anxious. My anxiety
increased as we went around the circle. I could not focus on what group members
were sharing because I was trying very hard to control my anxiety. When it was
my turn, I had difficulty beginning (i.e. I froze and said Um and Uh a lot).
When I spoke, my voice was shaky, and so was my body. Other anxiety symptoms
I felt were: racing/pounding heart, tight chest, upset stomach, shortness of breath,
hot flashes, etc. I believe my anxiety was noticeable to others, which caused me to
feel more anxious and embarrassed. I also felt that everything I said came out
wrong, which caused me to feel disappointed in myself. I found myself obsessing
about this experience afterwards.
Felt upset and frustrated with my anxiety (i.e. not wanting to deal with it)
Felt impatient with my self-growth (i.e. wanting to grow faster)
Thoughts that I cant do this

Week 4

Heather split us into small groups to partake in group discussion (was able to
contribute to this discussion)
Participated in an icebreaker activity in which we drew a picture that
demonstrated who we are
My anxiety (racing/pounding heart, shortness of breath, restlessness) increased as
group members took their turn describing the picture they drew
Was shaky and feeling anxious as I spoke (though, not as bad as the week before),
but it began to subside as I continued speaking
Felt a little proud of myself
Felt admiration towards Heather due to her flexibility, creativity, improvising
skills, strength in meaning-making, and ability to connect an unrelated topic to
what it is we are learning about.
When Heather mentioned that class from this day forward will run similar to that
of a group, I began feeling anxious. Perhaps this is due to the fear of vulnerability,
failure, the unknown, etc.

Week 5

Shared our Being Characteristic of strength/areas of development and the

character you most admire in others
I shared my strengths/areas of development, but left out one area of development
relationships as I feared judgment from others, specifically because the field
of CYC is all about relationships. I thought others would think something along
the lines of, Well then, why are you in this field? and view me as inadequate. I
found it interesting and rather reassuring that Heather (who has much knowledge,
experience and skills) said that one of her areas of development is the
characteristic of being in relationships.



Found it interesting that what I admired in others were both my strengths and
areas of development
Was able to describe how Rachel displays the characteristic of love and how
Heather demonstrated counselling on the go the week before
Anxiety was fairly controlled in todays class
Still get a little shaky and anxious when I have to speak in front of the group
Was feeling proud of myself about todays class and speech given earlier

Week 6 No class
Week 7

Interesting class; felt as though I learned a lot

Class was three hours today as Heather combined the two groups. This means that
instead of seven to eight people, there were double that.
Started class off with an art activity (we finished the drawing of four pictures)
Was feeling more anxious than usual due to the increase in the size of the group
and was quite restless as a result of this
Heather mentioned that wed all participate in a role-play of facilitating a group
circle, which further increased my anxiety. I desperately wanted to challenge
myself by facilitating the group, but I was afraid to.
Sat back and observed a few others go first, which helped, and then I felt ready to
give it a try, but fear held me back
Afraid of many things my anxiety, freezing, not having the skills/being good
enough, being judged by others, counselling on the go, etc.
Despite this, my participation and engagement in todays class was excellent
Felt very proud of myself and my accomplishments to date

Week 8 No class
Week 9

Completed mini-quiz of conflict resolutions styles (same quiz I completed the

previous year). I was a collaborator, next to a harmonizer. It seemed fitting to my
personality and conflict resolution style(s). This made me feel happy and proud of
myself, including my accomplishments to date, because I use to be an avoider,
but no longer am anymore. Felt a sense of empowerment.
Played a game and got paired up with partners. Found it interesting observing the
group dynamics, and how everyone got along and/or played with each other.
Challenged quiet people asked them a question, too.

Found it interesting that Abby was a collaborator, too.

Week 10



Felt a little bit anxious towards the beginning of class, as there was a new group,
new routine, and new people. Felt a moment of not knowing, as I did not know
how todays group session would go.
Struggled trying to formulate my thoughts/feelings into words, so I did not
contribute as much as I would have liked to. When I did contribute, I did not like
anything I said what I said, how I said it, etc. This had me feeling frustrated and
disappointed with myself.
Admired Abbys leadership role, along with both Abbys and Sarahs calm,
nurturing and comforting voices. Also admired their ability to respond to the
defiant behaviour that they were presented with.
Felt anxious for them, and felt anxiety towards the future thinking about
presenting (another moment of not knowing/counselling on the go)

Week 11

Jesse and Kels co-facilitated today (group session was based on self-esteem)
Many thoughts and feelings arose for me during the session
These thoughts and feelings were personal/vulnerable to share with others
Struggled trying to find a balance between sharing too little and/or too much
Usually I am more observant of others, but today this was not the case (perhaps
due to the topic)
Relatively good discussion about social media and how body image is portrayed
Found I had a lot to say, but could not because I felt uncomfortable, or I couldnt
articulate my thoughts and feelings
Skittle exercise I thought this was an interesting approach, however, I was
anxious about which colour/question I would be asked, so I went last = another
moment of not knowing
Enjoyed mindfulness activity and the use of positive self-talk/affirmations
Every time a group presents, I experience anxiety about the future. Mainly, my
thoughts consist of: What if? And it is always negative, or the worst possible
scenarios. They are all my worries, fears and doubts.
Love learning about group dynamics and how each individual affects others,
individually and collectively
When talking and not trying to be perfect, I worry and obsess over the
possibility of sounding stupid, not making sense, having my words come out
wrong, missing something, making a mistake, not being perfect, etc. This is due to
my perfectionism and many other fears that cause my perfectionism.

Week 12

Taylor and Dave co-facilitated today. The two of them mirrored each others tone
of voice and demeanour. Taylor spoke quietly and off to the side, while Dave
spoke more. Topic was body/self-image and esteem once again.
Did a great job in contributing to the class discussion
Every time I speak (before, during and after), I experience anxiety



At one point, I shared feelings/thoughts of how I felt about the topic, and by doing
so, I felt very anxious and vulnerable, especially when nobody (group and/or
facilitator) said anything after, or acknowledged and validated my feelings
Food for thought for future practice: ensuring I provide acknowledgment and
validation to clients who are more anxious, and pulling out quiet/withdrawn
people by checking in with them individually, or asking them questions/engaging
them in conversation
Shared their strengths and areas of development during debrief discussion
Contributed to all discussions; although anxious doing so, I was proud of myself

Week 13 Group session (co-facilitation)

Week 14 Class discussion
Week 15 No class



Appendix B: Drawing/Poem (Week 8)

As a group leader or participant

Self-reflection is extremely important
Its a process that one must embrace
For learning and growth to take place
Now, as I sit here, think and reflect
There are themes that I can detect
And so can you
If you read along, too
So, here is my critique
Of the first seven weeks
Of classes that have passed and
As a leader/participant in group settings:
You see, I am like a turtle
In touch with my inner world
Thoughts and feelings

I keep them close to me

Sometimes so that no one can see
I am like a turtle
Guarded by my own shell
It protects me very well
It keeps me safe from danger
And potential threats from strangers
And from the fears and anxieties I feel
Like self-disclosure and exposure
Or the vulnerability I feel to
Conflict and confrontation
Embarrassment and humiliation
Rejection and abandonment
Misunderstanding and judgment
The fear of intimacy

The fear of inadequacy
And failing to meet the expectations
Of myself and/or others
I am like a turtle
Slow-moving; slowly, but surely
I move at my own pace
I remind myself/others: there is no race
I am timid, quiet, cautious and afraid

Give me some time and thatll change
Show me that I can trust you
And I will peak my head out
Show me that I can be safe around you
And I will start to come out of my shell
To finally show my true colours
To you and all of the others

Poem/Video (Week 14)

I chose to enter at Fleming College
To further extend my burgeoning knowledge
I started out at Fleming res
In the CYC program, cause I liked what it said
I struggled like a new, young caterpillar
Slowly pushing through, and growing bigger
This is where I shed my first skin,
Making mistakes, learning from within
As I continued along in the second year,
I grew and grew, when adversities neared
The skin I shed during and after year two
Was one I needed to work on, too
There were many issues that occurred that year
I had to withdraw to help my head clear
I started again, a year later, refusing to quit
Where I managed to pass, but, I was still unfit
Again, I shed my skin one more time
Hoping that this would be the last time
So, in the third year, I tried anew
But here, I found myself withdrawing, too
And shedding my skin, you bet, once again
I was somewhat like the caterpillar, who
Spins a chrysalis in order to protect it from view
I experienced some thoughts and feelings, too
That I needed to work on, which is why I withdrew
I experienced much fear while I shed my skin here
Now, its the fourth year
My mindset is clearer
And graduation is near
But sometimes I can still struggle to prove
That I can succeed, for both me and for you
You see, a caterpillar needs to shed five skins
As it grows and grows, it soon knows when
Its time to spin its chrysalis
And emerge as a butterfly in year five and six
Every day is a transformation
Every day is a new sensation
Alteration, modification
An incarnation, celebration
Every day is a new equation
Every day is a revelation
Information, anticipation
Onto another destination